AREVA’s home base is France, where 38% of the group’s sales revenue (in 2009) is earned and 63% of its workforce is located.
AREVA’s activities are carried out at 30 industrial sites throughout France, including 18 Installations Nucléaire de Base (stationary as opposed to mobile nuclear facilities), and 1 Installation Nucléaire de Base classée Secrète (INBS) (stationary nuclear facility classified defense). Its head office is in Paris.
After the first oil shock in 1973, France chose nuclear power to gain energy independence. Electricité de France (EDF) selected the pressurized water reactor (PWR) technology, with AREVA as sole supplier of the nuclear steam supply systems.
Today, the country has attained self-sufficiency in terms of energy production. The rise in capacity of the French nuclear reactor fleet is the fruit of unshaken political determination,backed by a broad consensus of public opinion. The result is a world record unequaled to this day.
France has 58 nuclear reactors currently in operation, producing nearly 80% of the country's electricity. The French nuclear reactor fleet is composed of plants with 3 standardized generating capacities: 900MW (34 units), 1300 MW (20 units) and 1450 MW (N4, 4 units).
Only22 years passed between the startup of Fessenheim 1 plant operation (900 MW) in 1977 and startup of the Civaux plant (1450 MW) in 1999. The remarkable uniformity of the French nuclear reactor fleet, due to a single type of reactor system (PWR technology), has made it possible to gather exceptional feedback.
The entire fleet benefits from leading-edge technologies as a result of the joint initiatives of the government, EDF (the operator), AREVA and the nuclear safety/security authority. The EPR™ reactor, bearing the most recent design, benefits from the latest innovations developed by AREVA in terms of performance and safety.
And in follow-up to the « Grenelle de l’environnement », France’s emergency conference on protecting the environment, an ambitious action plan was set up to develop renewable energies throughout the country. The scheme calls for meeting 23% of France’s electric power requirements by renewable energies by 2020. As an example to meet this goal, wind farms generating 25 GW, including 6 GW offshore, as well as biomass plants generating a total of 15 GW of electric power would have to be installed.
AREVA'S ACTIVITIES IN FRANCE
Significant contracts for the supply of conversion and enrichment services have been signed with EDF.
With its new plants COMURHEX II (conversion of natural uranium) and Georges Besse II(uranium enrichment) located on the same Tricastin site, AREVA is creating a one-of-a-kind "conversion enrichment" center of technological excellence.
Reactors & Services
In May 2006, EDF decided to construct a test EPR™ plant in Flamanville. AREVA supplied the nuclear steam supply system, the equipment for which was already in production in the Chalon/Saint-Marcel plant. The commissioning of this reactor is scheduled for 2013.
On January 30th, 2009, French president Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed "the development of a second EPR™ nuclear power plant in France" on the Penly site in Seine-Maritime. This second EPR™ will be part of the progressive updating of the French nuclear fleet, and, notably, of the plant units reaching the end of their life cycle. This new EPR™ reactor, the construction of which is due to begin in 2012, will be the world's fifth in production.
Regarding equipment, AREVA is making massive investments to increase its production capacity of forged nuclear components, especially on the AREVA sites in Chalon/St-Marcel and Le Creusot (Burgundy). Currently 80% of the pieces necessary for the construction of an EPR™ reactor can be created in Le Creusot. In the future, 100% will be made here, especially the manufacture of the vessel pieces.
In December 2008, AREVA won a request for bids launched by EDF for the supply of 9 steam generators. End 2009, the Saint-Marcel plant delivered 3 steam generators to replace those installed in EDF’s plant at Bugey.
In December, 2008 AREVA and EDF signed a long-term partnership agreement for the management of spent nuclear fuels. This framework agreement, signed for the period 2008-2040, guarantees EDF and AREVA alike long-term visibility in their relations where recycling activity is concerned.
Hydrogen energy and fuel cells
Via its subsidiary Helion, based in Aix-en-Provence, AREVA has become a key partner in the following major research programs:
- the H-PAC program, focused on initial investigations regarding the development of hydrogen-based energy, undertaken by the Research Agency of France,
- the Horizon Hydrogen Energy program (H2E), conducted by OSEO and focused on the industrialization and demonstration of technologies tied to hydrogen and fuel cells for stationary applications,
- the Myrte program on hydrogen, in which the University of Corsica plays a pivotal role; this project associates solar power and the hydrogen chain; Helion is supplying the fuel cell for this experiment.
Helion has already developed Bahia (a teaching platform on fuel cells for university level instruction and research),and delivered it to 15 schools, universities and research centers.